Circuit Court for Washington County Case No.: 21-K-16-53003
Meredith, Berger, Kehoe, JJ.
in the Circuit Court for Washington County convicted
appellant, Vyacheslav Redkovsky, of four counts of
distribution of child pornography and four counts of
possession of child pornography. As to two of the
distribution charges, the trial court sentenced appellant to
consecutive ten-year sentences, with all but six years of
each sentence suspended, and merged the remaining counts for
sentencing purposes. On appeal, appellant challenges the
sufficiency of the evidence to sustain his convictions.
conclude that the evidence was sufficient and affirm the
judgments of the trial court.
Roger Schwarb of the Maryland State Police ("MSP")
testified that in February of 2016, he was assigned to the
MSP division of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task
Force ("Task Force"). In connection with his duties
on the Task Force, Corporal Schwarb investigated internet
child pornography on BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file-sharing
protocol. BitTorrent allows users to download
material, while also sharing material from the users'
Schwarb explained the basic process for accessing a
peer-to-peer network. First, a user must download a
"client," which is a free, publicly-available
computer program. uTorrent is a popular client, which allows
users to access the BitTorrent network. Corporal Schwarb
explained that the client searches for files on the network
by using a "torrent," which is similar to a library
"indexing card." A torrent contains text identifying the
files associated with that torrent, including the number of
files associated with that torrent, the size of the files and
their location. The torrent does not contain any files or
images; it only contains data with file descriptions. Each
torrent is assigned a "hash," which is a specific
number, similar to an electronic
"thumbprint." Once the user downloads a particular
torrent, that torrent is saved in the user's client.
Schwarb explained that, for example, a user who is interested
in Lassie movies could search for a torrent using the term
"Lassie," and the user will receive a list of
torrent files associated with that search term. The
BitTorrent client then searches the peer-to-peer network to
find the info hashes for files associated with that torrent.
If there are "a hundred images of that torrent for
Lassie, it will go out, you'll get those hundred
images," and "[y]ou've essentially downloaded
all the files associated with that torrent."
Schwarb's state computer used a software program
specifically designed to allow law enforcement to operate
undercover, searching BitTorrent for child pornography files
located in Maryland. On February 13, 2016, Corporal
Schwarb's state computer generated a summary log
identifying search results for a specific torrent associated
with known child pornography info hashes. Three files
associated with that torrent downloaded to the state computer
from the IP address "22.214.171.124." Corporal
Schwarb explained that the software program allows law
enforcement to obtain a "single source download,"
from only one IP address at a time. Corporal Schwarb viewed
three of the downloaded files: [(1) "000015.mpg;"
(2) "000018.avi" and (3) "000019.avi"],
and observed that those files depicted child pornography.
March 12, 2016, Corporal Schwarb's state computer's
activity log identified an additional file,
which had again downloaded to his computer from the IP
address 126.96.36.199 via the BitTorrent network. Corporal
Schwarb reviewed the March 12, 2016 video file and observed
that it depicted child pornography. Corporal Schwarb copied
to a CD the three video files downloaded to his computer on
February 13, 2016 and the one video file downloaded on March
12, 2016 from the IP address 188.8.131.52. The four video
files contained on the CD were played for the jury and
admitted as evidence. The parties stipulated that each of the
four video files identified by Corporal Schwarb depicted
someone under the age of 15 engaged in sexual conduct.
Schwarb testified that he researched the IP address
184.108.40.206 on the public website, American Registry for
Internet Numbers (ARIN), and learned that the IP address
220.127.116.11 was registered to Antietam Cable. Corporal
Schwarb sent a subpoena to Antietam Cable for the subscriber
information associated with the IP address 18.104.22.168.
Antietam Cable responded that the subscriber to the account
for that IP address was Slava Redkovsky located at 1034 Mount
Aetna Road, Hagerstown, Maryland.
a.m. on April 6, 2016, Corporal Schwarb assisted members of
the Task Force in the execution of a search warrant at 1034
Mount Aetna Road. Corporal Schwarb arrived at the residence
and spoke with appellant in the driveway, as appellant
prepared to leave for work. Appellant provided his house keys
to the Task Force and the Task Force searched the home.
Corporal Schwarb observed that there appeared to be only one
person living in the house. Corporal Schwarb determined that
appellant's WiFi network was secured, as it required a
password to access the WiFi network. The Task Force seized a
black Toshiba laptop and three hard drives from a custom
built, "tricked out" computer tower.
Trooper First Class Chris Reid of the Task Force interviewed
appellant at his residence immediately following the search.
The audio-recording of the interview was played for the jury
at trial. In the interview, appellant acknowledged to Trooper
Reid that he had a password protected wireless internet cable
service provided by Antietam Cable. Appellant stated that he
had a custom desktop computer, which he built as "a
hobby." He also had two laptops: a broken HP laptop,
which he was in the process of fixing, and a working Toshiba
laptop. Appellant explained that he bought the laptops on
eBay "super cheap," and that he had tried to
"fix them up." According to appellant, he was the
only person who had used the Toshiba laptop.
described himself as having "maybe a little more than
average" knowledge of computers. Appellant stated that
he understood a peer-to-peer file-sharing program to be one
where "you like upload it to a server or something, and
then if it's on a server, somebody else can go on and
download it." Appellant stated that he understood that
peer-to-peer file sharing involved sharing files with other
people. Appellant indicated that he had heard of BitTorrent,
but did not think that he had ever used it. Appellant
acknowledged that he had used the uTorrent program on his
Toshiba laptop and expected that uTorrent was probably still
on that laptop.
asked by Trooper Reid if he ever looked up pornography,
appellant responded: "Uh, I can't say that I
haven't, but not on a file sharing program."
Appellant stated that he typically "would just Google
for [pornography]." Appellant indicated to Trooper Reid
that he did not expect that the Task Force would find any
pornography on his laptop. Trooper Reid asked appellant if
the Task Force would find any child pornography on
appellant's computer, and he responded, "Gee, I hope
not." According to appellant, he "didn't have
any of that stuff on [his] computer" and
"[didn't] want anything to do with child porn."
Gibson, a computer forensic analyst with the Department of
Homeland Security Investigations, testified as an expert in
computer forensics and data analysis. Gibson assisted in the
execution of the search warrant at 1034 Mount Aetna Road by
previewing devices to identify items of evidentiary value. On
or about April 13, 2016, Gibson conducted a forensic analysis
on multiple devices seized from appellant's residence,
including a Toshiba laptop computer. Gibson observed that the
peer-to-peer filing-sharing program, uTorrent, was installed
on the Toshiba laptop and remained in active use. The most
recent recorded logon date for the Toshiba laptop was April
6, 2016. In the course of Gibson's forensic analysis of
the Toshiba laptop, he did not find any file ...